Good News

Good news. The MRI showed that Louise’s tumor has stabilized. That is a great thing, it is what we had hoped and prayed for. It is what the radiation was supposed to do, so for that we are grateful. Of course that also means that the weakness and other symptoms we are seeing are probably not related to the cancer. It raises some questions. Mainly, why is she becoming so weak if the cancer is not growing? She has been falling more and she cannot get herself up. Bill went to help her up off the couch and she couldn’t even pull up with him pulling her. He had to bend and lift her. She is also extremely tired all the time. She isn’t motivated to do anything and everything requires tremendous effort. We feel that it shouldn’t be this hard for her, especially if the disease is not progressing. Gail, Bill and Ray expressed their concerns to the doctor today and she seemed to agree that what we are seeing isn’t what would be expected according to the MRI. It was good to have Gail’s medical expertise in the discussion and we are glad that she is staying through Saturday to watch for changes. They decided to do some blood work to check her hormone levels, vitamin levels etc… She also ordered a PET scan, which gives an even more detailed view of the brain. She changed some medicines, and took her off of one all together. She is backing her off the steroids so that in a week or so she will be totally off of them. Some of their side effects could be what we are seeing. That would be a best case scenario…that the reducing the medication will reduce the symptoms. Either way Louise will be thrilled to get to stop some of her pills!
The doctor did say that some of the confusion or trouble communicating could be a result of the radiation. It can cause some dementia and brain damage around the site. Those mental faculties are probably not going to improve. The trouble with finding words, names, and reading have decreased, or at least are not increasing at this point. She is still able to participate in conversations and she can talk fine. It is just that sometimes she cannot always say what she wants.
The doctor also ordered some physical therapy to try to strengthen her muscles. Atrophy is what she feels is causing some of the weakness. It seems to us that this is happening too fast to be that alone. Louise has always been active and taken specific actions to work her muscles and heart. It feels like it should take more that a couple of weeks to loose that function she has built up. Some of the medications can cause weakness and it is our hope that once she is off of the ones she can do without now that the weakness, lack of motivation, and exhaustion will decrease. The physical therapist will also do a safety check around the house and make suggestions on how to make any changes for her safety. He can look at her abilities and then help Ray make adjustments. We feel that this is a wise step at this point. It just makes sense that we do whatever we can to help her to be as safe as possible at home.
Overall, we are relieved by today’s report. It has given us and Louise hope that she could regain some of her physical strength. We have a plan of some sort, which always helps us to feel more like we are doing something rather than just sitting around waiting. We also have figured out that if she is not doing well the oncologist wants us to call rather than put it off to the next appointment. I think that we will continue to try to find the source of the latest symptoms, while still moving as forward as possible with the medication changes and physical therapy. Again, we thank you for your prayers for all of us.

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